Former Yamaha Italia rider Jurgen van den Goorbergh, who finished third in the World Supersport title chase this season, has signed to ride for the SLM Ducati team for next season.

Van den Goorbergh battled with pace-setting Ten Kate Honda team-mates Karl Muggeridge and Broc Parkes throughout the 2004 season aboard his R6.
But 2005 will now see the Dutchman move from the factory backed Yamaha team to the satellite SLM Ducati outfit, formerly known as SL Racing Ducati.

"For me it is like a dream come true," said van den Goorbergh. "I am happy about the contract signed with SLM Ducati Racing and with the 749R being a two cylinders it is very special, the Ducati is like the Ferrari in the motorcycle-world, an absolutely beauty and a very special bike."

"We are very proud to have engaged a rider like Jurgen and I would like to thank all - Ducati first of all - that have contributed to this project," said team manager Serafino Foti. "We are perfectly aware that the championship will be an hard challenge, but we will do our best to give Jurgen a competitive machine: the one that a rider like Jurgen deserves."

Van den Goorbergh will take his head technician, and brother, Patrick with him to his new team.

SLM also hope that a new partner, Enzo Maccherrone, and direct support from the Ducati factory will give the team the edge it needs to compete at the front next season.

Jurgen and the team will have their first test together at Valencia on December 13-14.